Local state representative asks Gov. Stitt to ask businesses to hold off on vaccine mandates

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT
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MADILL, Okla. (KXII) - Several weeks ago, Mercy Hospitals announced employees will need to be vaccinated before October or be fired.

Mercy is not the first employer to require the vaccine, but some Mercy workers don’t want to get vaccinated.

Mercy Home Health LPN Carrie Taylor said her job has urged her to get vaccinated for months now.

“We had a year to go get vaccinated,” Taylor said. “But the ones that didn’t, there was a reason why we didn’t.”

Still, it shocked her to hear she’d have to take the shot by October or find a new job.

“I remember thinking I’m gonna miss my patients and my coworkers cause I really love working here,” Taylor said.

Oklahoma State Representative Tommy Hardin of Madill said he’s been hearing from constituents like Taylor complaining about vaccine mandates.

He sent a letter to Governor Stitt on Wednesday.

“The goal of the letter is to get the governor to ask businesses to postpone this until we’ve discussed it fully and not just make a mandate on the people that we represent,” Hardin said.

In the letter, Hardin writes he feels a mandate is wrong, but he also supports businesses making choices. He told KXII it’s a balance.

“Being forced or coerced to surrender those rights is kind of troubling, so how do we defend the rights of the person and the rights of the business,” Hardin said. “That’s what we need to talk out.”

Around 75% of employees are vaccinated across Mercy Hospitals. A spokesperson said the number has increased daily since they announced the new policy.

“I would like to have the reasons why hospitals or other medical facilities, what is their reasoning for having to have their employees vaccinated,” Hardin said. “Especially since like I said, it’s experimental. it hasn’t been fully approved by the FDA yet.”

A Mercy press release states they want to keep the work environment safe for everyone at the hospital.

Hardin’s letter calls for a meeting between legislators and medical workers before mandates are made.

“I think he’s spot on,” Taylor said.

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